The Big Picture
Sustainable Capital and Utility Procurement
(1-2 Points, Non-Reciprocal)
Sustainable purchasing programs establish energy efficiency and sustainability requirements for new purchases of capital equipment, construction, infrastructure, and utilities pertaining to waste management administration. Under this credit, local governments and industries are expected to maintain a Sustainable Purchasing Program covering capital equipment associated with administration of their solid waste programs with a high cost per unit that are not regularly replaced through the course of operations.
These programs benefit accreditors because they decrease costs over product lifespan, improve worker health and safety, offset carbon emissions, and encourage sustainability amongst product suppliers.
Accreditation will come from the successful implementation of programs to purchase carbon offsets and Renewable Energy Credits, to build and maintain renewable energy production systems, and to certify and maintain green buildings. For a more detailed list of strategies for accreditation and for a list of possible tiers of accreditation, please see the How to Meet the Requirements section.
In order to receive credit, local governments and industries should be prepared to upload a copy of their emissions and energy offset certificates, any LEED or equivalent green building certification documents, documentation of Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions, and a calculation of sustainable energy. For a more detailed explanation of each of these pieces, please see the Required Documentation section.
Case Studies and Benefits
Municipalities across the country have been successful in decreasing costs and environmental degradation through sustainable purchasing programs. On-site photovoltaic programs have been shown to decrease operating costs, as have LED lights. Additionally, Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Programs can decrease emissions and improve efficiency.
Additional resources, such as relevant definitions are available.
Intent and Requirements
To establish energy efficiency and sustainability requirements for new purchases of capital equipment, construction, infrastructure, and utilities pertaining to waste management administration.
There are two tiers available to local governments and industries within this credit.
Tier 1: (1 point)
and/or Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) or equivalent.18
- RECs purchased from the grid must be Green-e-Energy Certified or equivalent from sources that have come online in the last 10 years.
- For remaining Scope 1 emissions or for all Scope 1 & Scope 2 carbon emissions, purchase carbon offsets that are Green-e-Climate Certified or equivalent.
Supply 10 percent of total energy of vehicles and facilities from on-site renewables (wind, hydro, solar, biomass etc.) and/or renewable fuels as defined in credits SWC Credit 3, PCR Credit 7 or PCD Credit 1. Low-carbon or alternative fuels as defined in these credits e.g. natural gas recovered from the local waste stream, may count toward this requirement, but are discounted by 50%.
- Credit assignment options: Electricity generation, Cogeneration, heat generation, or cleaned and compressed for mobile equipment or collection equipment.
Tier 2: (+1 point)
Certify all construction or renovation projects of waste processing facilities in excess of 5,000 square feet to LEED Certification version 3 and above, or LEED Silver for version 2 or equivalent. SWEEP will review all equivalent certification and renovation projects.
Tier 1: (1 point):
Offset 100 percent of the Scope 1 & Scope 2 carbon emissions through Carbon Offsets and/or Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) equivalent. 19
- RECs purchased from the grid must be Green-e-Energy certified or equivalent from sources that have come online in the past 10 years.
- For remaining Scope 1 emissions or for all Scope 1 & Scope 2 carbon emissions, purchase carbon offsets that are Green-e-Climate certified or equivalent.
- 10 percent of the facility’s total energy consumption (vehicles + facility) must come from on-site renewables. These include: wind, hydro, and solar energy sources.
- Credit assignment options: Electricity generation, co-generation, heat generation, or cleaned and compressed gas for mobile equipment or collection equipment.
Tier 2: (+1 point)
Certify all construction or renovation projects of waste processing facilities in excess of 5,000 square feet to LEED certification for version 3 and above or LEED Silver for version 2, or equivalent.
Why We Care
Sustainable purchasing programs allow businesses and municipalities to directly improve the sustainability of their operations and to indirectly leverage their power as purchasing agents to encourage sustainability by suppliers. Capital equipment is often high in energy use over its lifespan and in its production, so sustainability in its purchasing decreases an entity’s carbon footprint and net emissions. These programs also improve worker health and safety, decrease disposal costs, and reduce liabilities.
Energy efficiency and sustainability requirements for new purchases should look at the production of the purchase, its efficiency in use, and its harm (or lack thereof) after disposal. Sustainable purchasing encourages the integration of recycled materials into the production process. Also, sustainable purchasing can lead to financial savings over the lifespan of the product through energy efficiency and decreased disposal costs. These standards also decrease pollution and energy usage.
Finally, energy efficiency and sustainability requirements in purchasing creates environmental benefits. Energy efficient products decrease a municipality’s overall carbon footprint. Recycled products decrease the introduction of waste into the environment. Purchasing six cases of 100% recycled copy paper rather than non-recycled paper prevents one metric ton of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere (the equivalent of the emissions from burning 102 gallons of gasoline).
How to Meet the Requirements
|Purchase carbon offsets.||✔||✔|
|Evaluate sites within the municipality or business holdings for renewable energy production and use potential.||✔||✔|
|Design and certify waste management and support facilities to green building standards, such as LEED.||✔||✔|
|Offset emissions through Green-e-Energy certified Renewable Energy Credits (RECs).||✔||✔|
|Develop and maintain onsite renewables production to power 10 percent of facilities and vehicles consumption.||✔||✔|
For local governments and industries, be prepared to upload:
- A copy of your emissions and energy offset certificates
- For more information on how to read and understand your offset certificates, please see here.
- Any LEED or equivalent green building certification documents
- Documentation of Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions
- “Scope 1 emissions are direct greenhouse (GHG) emissions that occur from sources that are controlled or owned by an organization (e.g., emissions associated with fuel combustion in boilers, furnaces, vehicles). Scope 2 emissions are indirect GHG emissions associated with the purchase of electricity, steam, heat, or cooling. Although scope 2 emissions physically occur at the facility where they are generated, they are accounted for in an organization’s GHG inventory because they are a result of the organization’s energy use.”EPA
- A calculation of sustainable energy
Case Studies & In-Depth Information
Alameda County General Services Agency – On-site Photovoltaic Systems
Alameda County is an excellent example of the development of renewable energy sources to create energy efficiency in purchasing. The 2.31 megawatt photovoltaic project saves an average of $4 million annually in operating costs.
City of Palo Alto – LED Purchasing
In partnership with Stanford University, the City of Palo Alto developed a Return on Investment calculator to measure the impact of switching all street lights to LED bulbs. The calculator included variables for energy use, maintenance cost, greenhouse gas emissions, and hazardous waste disposal. The return on investment for 70 watts of LED street lighting was $1.3 million.
City of Santa Rosa – Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Program
The City of Santa Rosa, through the development of its EPP Program, switched from using natural transmission lubricant to synthetics in all of the vehicles maintained by the city garage. This not only decreased the environmental impacts of transmission lubricant use, but it also saved the city $25,000 in labor costs in a year by making lubricant changes less frequent.
Capital Equipment (vehicles, office equipment and appliances)
Entrepreneur Definition: Equipment that you use to manufacture a product, provide a service or use to sell, store and deliver merchandise. This equipment has an extended life so that it is properly regarded as a fixed asset.
EPA Definition: An offset project is “a specific activity or set of activities intended to reduce GHG emissions, increase the storage of carbon, or enhance GHG removals from the atmosphere.”3 The project must be deemed additional4; the resulting emissions reductions must be real, permanent, and verified; and credits (i.e, offsets) issued for verified emissions reductions must be enforceable. The offset may be used to address direct and indirect emissions associated with an organization’s operations (e.g., emissions from a boiler used to heat your organization’s office building). The reduction in GHG emissions from one place can be used to “offset” the emissions taking place somewhere else. Offsets can be purchased by an organization to address its scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. Offsets can be used in addition to an organization taking actions within its own operational boundary to lower emissions. Offsets are often used for meeting voluntary commitments to lower GHG emissions where it is not feasible to lower an organization’s direct or indirect emissions.
EPA Definition: CHP is an energy efficient technology that generates electricity and captures the heat that would otherwise be wasted to provide useful thermal energy—such as steam or hot water—that can be used for space heating, cooling, domestic hot water and industrial processes. CHP can be located at an individual facility or building, or be a district energy or utility resource. CHP is typically located at facilities where there is a need for both electricity and thermal energy.
Green-e Definition: A program of the Center for Resource Solutions, a retail standard and third-party certification program for carbon offsets sold in the voluntary market. Green-e® Climate is a chain-of-custody certification for carbon offsets that requires project verification by Endorsed Programs (like the American Carbon Registry, the Climate Action Reserve, the Gold Standard, and the Verified Carbon Standard). Through the Green-e® Climate program, CRS takes oversight further by being the only program to monitor how offsets are transacted and advertised in the retail market, protecting both the buyer and the seller.
Green-e Definition: A program of the Center for Resource Solutions, a third-party certification program for renewable energy sold in the North American voluntary market. Through the Green-e® Energy program, CRS certifies renewable energy that meets the highest standards in North America: it must be generated from new facilities, marketed with complete transparency and accuracy, and delivered to the purchaser, who has sole title. Green-e® staff verifies the entire chain of custody of certified renewable energy from generation to retirement to ensure individuals and businesses are getting exactly what they paid for.
EPA Definition: A series of rating systems aimed at increasing the environmental and health performance of buildings, sites and structures and of neighborhoods. LEED® covers the design, construction, and operation of all types of buildings.
Green-e Definition: Renewable energy that is consumed at the same location where it is produced. On-site generation is a form of distributed energy generation.
Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)
EPA Definition: A renewable energy certificate – REC (pronounced: rěk) is a tradeable, market-based instrument that represents the legal property rights to the “renewable-ness”—or non-power (i.e., environmental) attributes—of renewable electricity generation. A REC is created for every megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity generated and delivered to the grid from a renewable energy resource. Electricity cannot be considered renewable without a REC to substantiate its renewable-ness.
Scope 1 Carbon Emissions
EPA Definition: Scope 1 GHG emissions are direct emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the Agency. Scope 1 includes on-site fossil fuel combustion and fleet fuel consumption.
Scope 2 Carbon Emissions
EPA Definition: Scope 2 GHG emissions are indirect emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the Agency. Scope 2 includes emissions that result from the generation of electricity, heat or steam purchased by the Agency from a utility provider.
Sustainable Purchasing Program
UMich Definition: “Sustainable purchasing” refers to the acquisition of products that are made from recycled content; that are environmentally preferable, bio-based, or energy- and water-efficient; that use alternate fuel and renewable energy; or that offer alternatives to hazardous or toxic chemicals.